GAO Observations on Timber Harvesting and Forest Development Needs on Indian Reservations

T-RCED-90-71: Published: Apr 24, 1990. Publicly Released: Apr 24, 1990.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO discussed the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) Forestry Program, focusing on the work being done at the 5 Indian reservations that together accounted for 38 percent of the program's timber harvest. GAO noted that: (1) the program's annual harvest volume averaged about 72 percent of the official BIA annual allowable cut, with individual harvests ranging from 51 percent to 88 percent; (2) greater tribal influence in defining individual reservation harvesting goals changed the program's emphasis from maximizing productivity to satisfying tribal preferences; (3) such factors as fire, poor markets, timber disease, staff ability, and harvest inefficiencies affected harvest productivity; (4) tribal influences regarding certain harvesting practices, the cutting of certain types of trees or trees in certain areas, and the hiring of non-tribal members also affected harvest productivity; (5) Congress appropriated about $81 million between fiscal years 1977 and 1989 to reduce a backlog of forest development work that BIA identified in 1977; and (6) BIA reported that about half of the reported backlog work had been completed by the end of fiscal year 1989. GAO believes that the 1977 BIA-identified backlog should no longer be used as the basis for providing forest development funding, since: (1) the backlog estimate was highly speculative and inadequately defined areas and treatments; (2) reservations differed significantly in measuring and reporting the accomplishment of backlog work; and (3) some of the required forest development work was never reported in the backlog.

Oct 19, 2020

Oct 16, 2020

Sep 8, 2020

Jul 22, 2020

Jun 23, 2020

Jun 17, 2020

Jun 11, 2020

Mar 19, 2020

Feb 27, 2020

Sep 19, 2019

Looking for more? Browse all our products here